Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas travels are in full swing...

Hey all...
Christmas is in full swing. Jackie and I officially arrived in Meadville last night to her parent's place. This morning, we slept in until about 9 am and now we're headed out to do a little last minute shopping. Hope all is well in your world!!
Merry Christmas!!!

P.S.: I'm hoping to pick up a last minute Christmas gift for me this afternoon: Guitar Hero!!!! Then I'll really be rockin!!!


Monday, December 18, 2006

Blogger Beta and YouTube frustrations...

I am totally loving the upgrade that I made to Blogger Beta. It's got some really cool things from the creator's standpoint that make blogging more fun (like that was even possible).

But for some reason I can't seem to get YouTube to work with Blogger Beta. If you have some insight, I am all ears. If you are just stopping by, there may not be any YouTube videos for a little while.

But check back. You never know when I might get it figured out.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Nativity was worth it!

If you are considering going to see the Nativity: Do it! It was a great movie. I went and saw it with 30 of my closest friends yesterday (our students and leaders) as part of our Christmas party. I thought it was a great movie and did a great job of really describing what Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, Zachariah and their families must have been feeling as John the Baptist and Christ Jesus were born into this world.

The only negative that I saw was that they did the typical three wise men (we actually have no idea how many were three... although Catholic tradition gives us the number three) who arrived at the Bethlehem (according to Matthew 2, the Magi came to a "house" not a "stable" as in Luke 2). But the makers of the movie may not have been attempting to writing theology so much as just sharing the story.

Overall... two thumbs up. Check it out if you haven't...

Next on my movies to watch list... Rocky!!


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Done for the semester!!

It's official. I am done with seminary for the semester. My finals are all wrapped up. My Hebrew vocab quiz went well. And I am relieved for be done for another semester!

Yesterday was a great day. I took a little vacation time yesterday to sit on the couch, watch 24 and play video games! It was a great day!!


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rocky Balboa - Official Trailer

Christmas Day Baby!!!
I can't wait to go and see this while I'm in Caldwell for Christmas. I am totally going to check out Rocky VI (Rocky Balboa)! It's going to be awesome!

Blog Correction... Test Update!!!

Hey Faithful Readers,
This is a correction to an earlier blog where it was reported that "going the distance" belonged to Beck. It does not. It actually belongs to Cake. My apologies!!

As an update for finals... at the point, my church history final is over. It is 11:19 am Central Standard Time and I am done with my church history final. Actually according to Dr. Rea, I received an "A" on my final an "A-" in the class because of the "B" on my bibliography.
All my stressing... worrying... pacing... and cramming is now over for Church History.

I still have a couple of quizzes in Hebrew. But soon and very soon... this semester will be in the books!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Merry Christmas from the Clarks!!!

Merry Christmas
from the Clarks!

We don't do Christmas cards (yet). But I thought I would post a little Christmasy picture!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wal-Mart frustrations!

I know it's the holidays and I'm supposed to be nice and cheery... but I go into Wal-Mart this afternoon to pick up 1 item. I found my item and then went to the "Speedy Checkout - 10 items or less" line. I couldn't go through the "Self Checkout" because it was a gift card.

Well, the line was huge. Not to mention the fact that I found myself behind a woman who obviously couldn't count. She had 19 items (and not small items either... like shoes and a comfortor and 5 boxes of cereal)!!! I don't know if people think that other people can't count or don't notice. But there I stood for probably the better part of 10 minutes while she got all her stuff (all 19 items... I counted) checked out.

a fun little video for an afternoon pick-me-up

Maybe you're feeling a little Thursday afternoon sluggishness... let my little animation friend pick you up!

Closest Book Meme

just saw this on Kurt's blog…
The rules are:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest!


I'm trying to be ultra-spiritual or anything... it was literally laying beside my computer.

Leviticus 11:1 (starting)
"The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 'Say to the Israelites: 'Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: You may eat any animal that hhas a split hoof completely divided and that chews the cud.'"

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Going the Distance!!!

It's the final week of my fall semester of seminary. And I've got a long way to go. Tuesday at 10:30 am I will take my oral final in my Church history class. I took half of my vocabulary review test yesterday in Hebrew and will take the final half next week. We don't have a final in there, just a couple vocabulary review tests.

I've got Beck's song "Loser" running through my head this morning... "He's going the distance... He's going for speed..."

I've got a couple long days ahead of me. But by this time next week, it will all be over and I'll be sitting on the couch playing video games (I've taken next Wednesday off...) It will be sweet!!!


Monday, December 04, 2006

24 is coming!!!

Yesterday I was watching the Bears beat up on the Vikings and I saw my first 24 commercial for Season 6! Here is a link to the 24 website. It looked pretty darn incredible. I found myself hoping they would go ahead and give us the time and date... I was fully prepared to set up the VCR (poor-man's TiVO) to tape it.

I love me some 24!!!

High Voltage Outline - Dec 3, 2006

Here is last night's outline from High Voltage. This was the final High Voltage until January 2007. High Voltage will be taking a break for the holidays to relieve some of the stuff facing families during the holiday season.

Lesson Topic: Week 2 - Tis the Season... Christmas
'Fun Factor': Average
Volunteer Involvement: Average
Music: Above Average
Student Involvement in Music: Average
Lesson Quality: Average
Length of Lesson: 30 minutes
Student Response: average
Overall Night Rating (scale of 1(not good) to 10(awesome)): 5

‘Tis The Season
Part 2 – The Gift
High Voltage – December 3, 2006 – Jim Clark
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah 9:6-7

A gift was promised.
But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. Luke 1:30-33
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Matthew 1:18
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord has said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ – which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:21-23

The stage was set.
So Joseph also went up form the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. Luke 2:4-5

The gift was delivered.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7

A light shone brightly.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them (shepherds), and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:9-11
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.’ Matthew 2:1-2
After they has heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. Matthew 2:9-10

The news was shared.
So they (shepherds) hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in a manger. When they has seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about his child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. Luke 2:16-18
And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Matthew 2:12

The Light arrived.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ John 8:12

Christmas Season Action Steps:
1. Recognize the necessity of not getting too stressed out.

2. Remember to true meaning for this season.

3. Require yourself to spend some time in reflection.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15
The Bottom Line: God gave us the ultimate gift when his son arrived in a manger.

Here are a few discussion questions to talk with your student about...
1. What does Christmas mean to you?
2. What is one way that you can practically and intentionally slow down during the Christmas season?
3. How can you share the true meaning of the Christmas season with others?
4. Who is one person that you can share the reason for this Christmas season with during this season?

It was a decent night. High Voltage will return on January 7, 2007. I can't wait.

Bring on the Gators

The Florida Gators earned the right on Sunday to play my Ohio State Buckeyes! Two words: Bring It! Here's a link to a story.
I am greatful that OSU doesn't have to play Michigan again. I wasn't real keen on them playing a team that they already beat in the regular season... it would have been a less than exciting game. But this January 8th match up should be a good one. And it will be fun to beat the Gators for a National Title.

Bears Baby!!!

NFC Central Division Champs!!!
Chicago Bears!!!

Yeah, looking forward to clinching that homefield advantage and rolling through the playoffs. (By the way... those Indy Colts looked great yesterday against the Titans??!!)

Monday, November 27, 2006

High Voltage Outline - Nov 26, 2006

Attendance: Average
Lesson Topic: Week 1 - Tis the Season... Thankfulness
'Fun Factor': Above Average
Volunteer Involvement: Average
Music: Above Average
Student Involvement in Music: Above Average
Lesson Quality: Average
Length of Lesson: 20 minutes
Student Response: average
Overall Night Rating (scale of 1(not good) to 10(awesome)): 6

Overall the night was pretty good. The only problem was we seemed to have a train wreck with the computer every time we turned around. Half of the powerpoint game didn't get imported right, so we lost some of the questions. The message powerpoint was messed up. It's little things like that that attempt to derail a night.

But it was a good night for one HUGE reason... Kyle Reimers (a 6th grader in our group) had given his life to Christ at our Fall Retreat a couple of weekends ago... he was obedient in baptism last night. So, that was most excellent.

Here's last night's outline:
‘Tis the Season
November 26, 2006 – High Voltage – Jim Clark
Week 1
I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:1-3
Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:5

Things to be thankful for (King David’s Thanksgiving List):
His love.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion. Psalm 103:2-4
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

His concern for all people.
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103:6
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14

His forgiveness.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:11-12
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15

His grace.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse nor will be harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Ps 103:8-10
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:13-14
Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:35-36

His continuing nature.
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. Psalm 103:17-18
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like the shifting shadows. James 1:17

Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere his dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul. Psalm 103:20-22
How to Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude:
1. Make time for reflection.

2. Be honest with yourself and have the right perspective.

3. Make thankfulness a part of your lifestyle.

The Bottom Line: Thanksgiving is a great time of the year to slow down and thank God for the incredible stuff He’s done for us.

Discussion questions:
1. What is the thing in your life that you are most thankful for?
2. What, in your relationship with God, are you most thankful for?
3. How can you practically begin to include more thankfulness in your relationship with God and with others?



Sunday, November 26, 2006

things I'm thankful for...

Things I'm thankful for...

Fox Valley Christian Church...
Our students...
My friends...
A great team of volunteers...
My health...
An opportunity to serve God with my talents...
Da Bears...

Just a few of the things that I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving season.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Bulldogs run is done...

The Batavia Bulldogs took a tough loss today at the hands of the Normal Community Ironmen for the 6A State Championship 30-20. Near the end of the first half, Batavia lost it's starting quarterback... which was hard. But the sophomore brought them back and gave them a chance to win near the end. But it just wasn't enough.

Here's a link to the article.

Good Job Dawgs!!


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What I'm reading...

Here's what I'm reading. Here's a link to the best place to buy it... (If you're going to buy it, buy it from my friends... you'll get it cheaper.) It looks like its going to be a good read, but I'm only a couple of chapters into it. Most on "What Matters Most" later...


Monday, November 20, 2006

Great Article in Time... Thanks Jared

Here's a link to a story that I just came across yesterday, thanks to Jared (one of my Sunday night leaders) who handed to it me.

Here's a chunk:
"As the exodus has increased, churches are trying to reverse the flow by focusing less on amusement and more on Scripture. When Chris Reed failed to convert a single youngster during one 12-month period soon after taking over as youth minister at Calvary in 1995, he decided to restructure his young people's program by adding both larger doses of doctrine and closer adult mentoring. Now, religious instruction, based on a model developed by youth pastors at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, centers on five Christian principles--evangelism, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and worship.

There's still some fun, games and live-band music in the mix at Calvary, but every youth activity, from scavenger hunts to prayer meetings to scrubbing floors and donating food and clothes at Los Angeles homeless shelters, must relate to one of the principles. Additionally, Reed recruited parents and young adults like Jones to forge bonds with small groups of six to eight teens. The grownups lead weekly Bible studies, help plan missionary trips and monitor the high schoolers' emotional and spiritual well-being with frequent phone calls and face-to-face encounters outside of church. Since Reed's overhaul six years ago, the total youth rolls--including the reconstituted Sunday school and college programs--have grown from 70 to more than 200. In 2003, a record 64 teens accepted Christ as their savior at Calvary. "We're healthy spiritually," Reed says. He adds that even adults who once thought teen members had little to contribute and needed baby sitting welcome their involvement in all church activities."

Chris Reed is a personal friend of mine and guy associated with the same Saddleback "Gathering" of youth workers that I'm a part of. It was incredible to be reading this article and then run across the name of someone that I know! Chris is doing an incredible job running a similiar Student Ministry to what we're running.

God is leading his people back to his purposes!! It's incredible!


Sunday, November 19, 2006

High Voltage Outline - Nov 19, 2006

Weekend Overview:
Attendance: Average
Lesson Topic: Week 6 - Ordinary Heroes... James and John struggling with selfishness.
'Fun Factor': Above Average
Volunteer Involvement: Above Average
Music: N/A
Student Involvement in Music: N/A
Lesson Quality: below average
Length of Lesson: 30 minutes
Student Response: average
Overall Night Rating (scale of 1(not good) to 10(awesome)): 5

Here's tonight's outline about James and John and their selfish request to Jesus:

Ordinary Heroes
Week 6 – James and John
High Voltage – November 19, 2006 – Jim Clark
He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. Mark 3:14-15

One important question to ask:
Who’s most important in your life?
Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matt 22:37-39

James and John’s priorities were messed up.
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. Mark 10:35-36
He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34

They made a request that was selfish and self-centered.
They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory." "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said. "Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?" "We can," they answered. Jesus said to them, "You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared." Mark 10:37-40

This request hurt their relationship with the other disciples.
When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. Mark 10:41

Jesus showed the true way to life.
Jesus called them together and said, "You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:42-45

The True Path to life:
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men. Ephesians 6:7

I (Jesus) tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. Matthew 11:11
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13
Do not exalt yourself in the king's presence, and do not claim a place among great men; it is better for him to say to you, "Come up here," than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman. Proverbs 25:6-7

Others First Attitude
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

Action Steps:
1. Access who is central in your life.

2. Make the commitment to putting others first.

3. Recognize the concerns that are all around you.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Luke 14:11
The Bottom Line: We can lift ourselves up… which will give short-term glory…
Or God can lift us up… that will give us eternal glory.

Discussion Questions:
1. Who/What is central and most important in your life?
2. Is that a path that you want to pursue in your life or do you want to go in a different direction? Explain your answer.
3. What is one way that you could begin to put others first?
4. What would be the hardest thing about putting others first?
5. Is it worth it? Why or why not?


Tonight was a little off... it might have just been me... but the game was awesome!! And really funny.


Bulldogs roll on!!!

Batavia 28 - Geneva 0

Batavia High School will move onto the State Championship downstate on Saturday!!! What an incredible game. Batavia gave them a pretty good licking for playoff semifinal match up. Here's a story about the beating.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Go Bulldogs!!

Go Bulldogs!!! Go Bulldogs!!! I've got 2 tickets to the big game... Go Bulldogs!!!

Here's a story about the big game on Saturday night.

People Need a life...

This craziness over the new PS3 is out of control. Here's a story from a local retailer of Best Buy. People hanging around in cars... pitching tents... do these people have lives???

I even heard this morning on the drive in to the office that one person was hurt at a Wal-Mart in Wisconsin when they opened the doors and showed them 10 seats that guaranteed them a PS3... wow...

Don't these people realize that in 3 months you'll be able to buy all the PS3's you can carry... and they'll play just the same that they do today... and there isn't much chance of getting hurt over one.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Nativity Story - Movie Trailer

This looks pretty awesome. We are planning to go and see it with the students for our Christmas Party... given that it's going to be shown here.

Looks awesome!


Blog Correction...

Correction to an early blog...

The Batavia buttkicking of Geneva is scheduled for Saturday evening. It was previously posted that it was Friday night. Here is a link to a reent Kane County Chronicle article about the upcoming blockbuster!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Devin Hester does it again

The Bears are back!! And this was an incredible play... if you missed this game, you might have missed one of the best games of the year.

Super Bowl Bound BABY!!

turning 50!!!

This post will turn my blog 50!!!

50 posts under my belt... now, where's the cake???


visiting a different church, part 2

This is the final paper that I turned in about my experience visiting the Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church... enjoy...

Roman Catholic Church
Holy Cross Catholic Church
November 11, 2006, 4:15 pm Mass
Pat Haviland, High School Youth Minister
My wife and I decided to visit Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Batavia. This church is near Fox Valley Christian Church so I drive past this church regularly. We arrived early, to a mostly empty parking lot. As we came into the building, no one greeted us. There were plenty of pictures and icons of religious figures on the wall. The church was very quiet.
While waiting for the Mass to begin two ideas stuck out to me. The first observation was the number of icons around the sanctuary of the church. Later while talking with Pat, I learned Holy Cross has more icons than most. Aside from the very central and prominent crucifix in the center of the stage, there were also very prominent icons of Mary, the mother of Jesus and Joseph. In addition to these, the fifteen stages of the cross were present around the room as with many other pictures, statues and icons that were unrecognizable to me. This is very different from the single cross that exists in the worship center of my church.
The second observation I had was the silence before the service. When we walked in, everyone was very quietly waiting for the service to begin. There was a reverence in the air. The silence reminded me more of a funeral than the typical chatter that fills the air in my church on a Sunday morning before the worship service.
As the Mass began I felt uncomfortable, a feeling that lasted through the entire service. The people around us knew when to stand, when to sit, when to kneel, what to recite and how to respond. At different points in the Mass, the entire congregation recited the Nicean Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. As one who has never participated in this type of a service before, it was somewhat unsettling and uncomfortable to be unaware of what was coming next. My wife and I felt like intruders in a foreign land.
Several aspects of the Mass were remarkably different from the church I attend. One very intriguing difference was the Eucharist. Having never been to a Roman Catholic Church before, I was somewhat unprepared for witnessing the way they do the Lord’s Supper.
The priest meticulously organized his cups, towels, plates and other items. Everyone, including me, was glued to every move Reverend Barr made as he poured the juice, placed the towels, and read from the Scriptures. As the reverend would approach a part of the preparation that was important, a bell would ring either one time or three times. This act, as I found out later by talking with Pat, was to call attention to a very special part of the preparations. This practice was revived from the past when the services were done in Latin. Since people could not understand the Latin, they would ring the bell to draw attention to what was occurring. After the preparations, the whole congregation was invited to come up and participate in the remembrance. Again, I felt awkward as my wife and I stayed seated as others got up, quietly walked to the end of their pew, got into line down the center aisle of the sanctuary and patiently waited for their chance to participate in “the body and blood of the Lord.” The serving of the Lord’s Supper, from start to finish, must have lasted at least twenty-five minutes.
It was refreshing and energizing to see the kind of focus that was given to something so central to our faith as the Lord’s Supper. Often in Protestant churches, communion feels like a race rather than an intimate time of focus on our Lord and his sacrifice on the cross. Communion is prepared in another room of the church, usually the night before the worship service, and then placed in a refrigerator until it is needed in the service. Never is it prepared in full view of the congregation. Following a meditation that cannot last longer than five minutes, it is served as rapidly as possible so we can move onto the next element of the service. Our Communion seems rushed and pressured compared to the slow and intentional method of Holy Cross.
A second difference of Mass was a lack of a multimedia in the service and the absence of a projection screen or other discernable multimedia tools. In most churches, the most obvious thing in the sanctuary is the projection screen. In the sanctuary at Holy Cross, the most central and obvious thing in the room was the approximate 20-foot crucifix on the wall behind the stage. In thinking about the lack of a multimedia tools, I wondered how a church could interact with it’s culture without these seemingly indispensable tools.
A third difference was in the choice or tradition of music. The congregation sang to simply a piano. The songs that we sang were songs that Jackie and I were not even familiar with from our church tradition. In fact, as we walked into the building, we could hear the sound of organ music. One of the attendees commented to us as to who was playing the organ as though they didn’t use it very often. But being a member of a congregation that makes use of a full range of musical instruments, including guitars, drums and keyboards, and technological devices, like iPods and computers, it seemed very plain with only the piano.
Finally, the homily was very different from what we experience in a Protestant church. Reverend Barr, one of the two Parochial Vicars at Holy Cross, did not look to impress with lengthy illustrations or “preacher jokes.” The message revolved completely around two passages of Scripture, I Kings 17:10-16 and Mark 12:38-44, read from the Lectionary readings read earlier in the Mass. As someone who is accustomed to a typical sermon, the homily seemed to conclude before it had really begun.
As mentioned, I have never attended Mass before. Thinking about going to church, naturally I brought my Bible. Before the homily as the readers were reading from the Lectionary, no one seemed to reach for a Bible. There were no Bibles in the back of the row in front of me. During the homily, no one reached for a Bible in order to look up the verses that Father Barr was referencing. As I looked around, I realized that no one had even brought a Bible to Mass. I felt suddenly out of place again as I considered opening my Bible to read along with him. Although some elements were the same, they were done in a very different manner.
Following the Mass, Jackie and I sat down and had a conversation with Pat Haviland, Holy Cross’ High School Youth Minister. Sitting down with Pat was a great chance not only to have some questions answered but also to network with another local youth worker. My questions for Pat revolved around two areas.
The first area of questions arose directly from the Mass itself. Having never been to Mass, some of their practices were very unfamiliar to me. For instance, Reverend Barr was wearing a green robe. Reverend Deutsch, the “Senior” priest, came up during the Eucharist to assist Reverend Barr. Reverend Deutsch was wearing a green sash. Also the cloths that contained certain elements of the Eucharist were green. Following the Mass, I questioned Pat about the significance of green. He was surprised by the question but explained that green is just the color of “ordinary time” in which the Roman Catholic Church finds itself.
The second area of questions that I had for Pat were questions about the church, it’s leadership and staff relationships, and especially the youth ministry at Holy Cross. As I found out, the student ministries of Holy Cross and Fox Valley Christian Church are not as different as one would assume. Obviously there are some major differences in theology and beliefs, yet some of the weekly habits and traditions of our student ministries are very similar.
Hopefully, this experience was just an initial visit and this conversation with Pat will spawn some more conversations as we can learn from one another. I would like to build on this connection in order to learn from each other as we both serve the community of Batavia.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Friday Night is going to be a HUGE night!!!

I haven't had a chance to make it a high school football game yet this year... but I'm glad I saved it for this one.

Friday night, two local rivals meet on the field for the second time this year. (Check out the story.).

Local Batavia High School and Local Geneva High School will meet again. The Class 6A semifinals will be incredible and I'm planning to be there...

Go Bulldogs!!!
The Spider-Man 3 Trailer

This trailer looks awesome. I missed it on TV the other night, but found it on YouTube... I can hardly wait until summer!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

High Voltage Outline - Nov 12, 2006

Weekend Overview:
Attendance: Average
Lesson Topic: Week 5 - Ordinary Heroes... Thomas/Dealing with Doubt
'Fun Factor': Average
Volunteer Involvement: Average
Music: N/A
Student Involvement in Music: N/A
Lesson Quality: above average
Length of Lesson: 40 minutes
Student Response: above average
Overall Night Rating (scale of 1(not good) to 10(awesome)): 6


Ordinary Heroes
Week 5 – Thomas
High Voltage – November 12, 2006 – Jim Clark
He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. Mark 3:14-15

What is doubt?
A feeling of uncertainty or a lack of total belief.

God isn’t afraid of doubt or questions.
When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Matthew 28:17
Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it." A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" John 20:24-28

Doubt won’t go away on its own. You got to figure out where it comes from:
-Intellectual (Go to the Bible)
Test everything. Hold on to the good. 1 Thessalonians 5:21
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

-Emotional (Go for honesty)
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

-Moral (Go for wisdom)
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Doubt can lead to some good things.
-Deeper Understanding
For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

-Stronger Faith
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Matthew 21:21-22

-Honesty and Integrity
Righteousness guards the man of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner. Proverbs 13:6

Action Steps for Thomases:
1. Ask someone you trust for help.

2. Be honest with yourself.

3. Consider it a chance to grow.

4. Do the hard work of dealing with what you find.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
The Bottom Line: Dealing with doubt will lead you deeper in your relationship with God.

Discussion questions based on tonight's lesson:
1. Is there a particular area of your relationship with God where you experience doubt? What is it?
2. Are your doubts more intellectual, emotional or moral? Explain.
3. Which do you do more often: Deal with your doubt or bury it in hopes of it going away?
4. If you were to write your own personal action step for tonight’s topic, what would it be?

Tonight was a good night. Attendance was good... although I never know how good until I start breaking down the numbers on Monday morning. But overall, the night had a good feel to it. A couple of students brought some new friends; that's always encouraging.

Overall... a good night.


Visiting a different church

As part of a school project for Lincoln, on Saturday I attended my first Mass at a Roman Catholic Church. We, Jackie and I, visited Holy Cross Church here in Batavia, just down the street from Fox Valley.

It was an interesting experience. In fact, I am currently working on a paper about my experience that I will post here once I finish it this week. That will give you more detail.

But one thing that jumped out at me was the way that we were (not) greeted when we walked in. It gave me a new perspective on new folks who visit our student ministry. When we walked in, we had no idea where to go, where to sit, where the bathrooms were, what was going to happen or anything.

In fact, when we walked in, I did everything I could to try to draw attention to myself. We were visiting as part of this class and so in that visit, I was supposed to meet with a staff member. I had contacted their student minister and had set up the opportunity, but I wanted to meet him before the Mass. But I had no idea where his office was, or where any of the offices were. So I attempted to look as obviously lost as I possibly could to draw attention to myself. I looked around. I stopped in unusual places. I looked at the brochures that were near the entrance. I did everything I could think of.

Finally, I had to approach one of the greeters near the door and ask. Both of them seemed stunned that someone didn't know where to go.

The thought that I had to myself was this: "No matter how hard we think we are trying to make our church friendly to new visiters, we probably aren't doing enough." Especially in the area of student ministry. We need to go out of our way and bend over backwards to try to make people feel at home.

Just a thought...
More on this coming this week after I finish the paper.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Waiting on the World to Change

This is a pretty cool video done by a church about reaching out and noticing those around us. It was a good reminder.

PDYM Community Lunch

Yesterday was a great day. Yesterday we hosted, here at Fox Valley Christian, a local PDYM Community gathering. There weren't very many folks here... but it was a great chance to connect with a new youth worker, Jason.

Overall the event was good. We talked about "What's strong in our ministries right now." We also talked about what is in need of prayer. The conversation was great. It was easy and natural. It actually felt like we had been friends for years.

I can't wait until next Spring.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

High Voltage Outline - November 5, 2006

Weekend Overview:
Attendance: Average
Lesson Topic: Week 4 - Ordinary Heroes... Philip/Getting in the Game
'Fun Factor': Average
Volunteer Involvement: Above average
Music: Way above average (Kraig's group Conscience Striken was up from Johnson)
Student Involvement in Music: way above average
Lesson Quality: above average
Length of Lesson: ** minutes
Student Response: average
Overall Night Rating (scale of 1(not good) to 10(awesome)): 7

Todd taught this lesson... and he did a great job I might add.
Kraig's band (Conscience Striken) was here from Johnson. They led the group in worship and did a great job!!

Here's a copy of the outline. And check out the discussion questions below...

Ordinary Heroes
Week 4 – Philip
High Voltage – November 5th, 2006 – Jim look alike
He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. Mark 3:14-15

Philip answered the question, but missed the test.
When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, “Eight months ‘wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

What do you really know? This world’s reality does not apply to the Son of God.

If you are willing to not stand on the sidelines of life (where it is safe), then God will put you in the game (which is under fire).
Acts 8: 4-8 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many , and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city.

Acts 8:26-39 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked. “How can I,” he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. The eunuch ws reading this passage of Scripture: He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.
The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

1 Cor 1:27-29 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
Who is Jim Abbott or Tom Dempsey?

Trying to use common sense with an Uncommon God.
1 Cor 15:27 For he has put everything under his feet. “Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

What do we have mastery over? God has mastery over …. Everything.
Judges 7:2-7 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave mount Gilead.’ So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained…….. The Lord said to Gideon, “ With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place.”

Action Steps:
1. Realize the rules of this world confine us, but they do not define our God.
2. When the Lord calls on you, believe he will empower you with the tools needed to succeed.
3. Search for the Lord daily and find him in your heart.

John 14:1 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.
The Bottom Line: Trust God, you must choose to believe that an almighty God can take a pine riding person like you and make them a superstar.

Discussion Questions:
1. What gifts and abilities do you have that you would like to use in serving the church?
2. Where could you begin to use those abilities in serving and getting into the game?
3. What might be preventing you from jumping in to the full?
4. What might God be able to do through you that you could never do alone in terms of your abilities?



Admit it - You have limitations

This post is part of a youth ministry product called "Youth Leader Training on the Go" by Doug Fields. This part is quoted from a piece entitled "Admit It - Yu have Limitations." You could purchase this here.

"Many people go through life trying to be self-sufficient (what I was doing when I sat down to write this). They love the thought of doing anything they "set their minds to" and don't really think they need anyone's help. If that describes you, can I gently point out that you are missing the point of God's design for the body of Christ? God never intended for you to live life in isolation and do everything by yourself.
"It took me a long time, but I finally accepted the fact that I am "better together" when my strengths and weaknesses are mixed with othes who have gifts and skills that make me more effective. I want to be become the type of person who has enough humility and wisdom to ask others to compensate for my limitations. What about you?"

That is something that is true for me. It took me a while, but I finally came around to where Doug is talking about... understanding that the student ministry will be better if others are involved, doing the ministering, taking the credit and glorifying God. It took me a while because I was like many rookie youth workers are under the false impression that the church hired me to be the cool, fun, hip and best guy to hang out with that the church had on staff... at least for students.
But it took me a while to realize that health is more about students getting connected with a caring adult who has the ability to minister directly into their life.

The reality is... I want to know and work with each student in our ministry. But it just isn't possible. What needs to happen is for there to be 15 or 20 folks who care about students and are willing to minister to students like I am.

That's where I'm blessed. I've got an incredible group of volunteers who are working hard with students... loving on them... speaking God's truth into their lives... and carrying on the work of a student minister (without the pay).

We're better together!

Faith Hill is not happy!

It's amazing what stars will say and do when they don't think the cameras are on them. Amazing. She thought she had it wrapped up. Wow!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

i'm still around...


I'm still around... We had a really huge fall retreat over the weekend and I'm just trying to catch up...


Monday, October 30, 2006

It wasn't easy being green...

Sunday was a landmark day for me.

I played a frog in Sunday morning service!

This past Sunday we wrapped up an adult series on "No Perfect People Allowed" and we talked about some of the reasons why people don't feel like they fit in at church... they doubt... they pretend... etc.

This past weekend was on the topic of pretenders. (The idea that in church a lot of the time we pretend to be perfect and have it all together when down inside we really don't.) With Halloween coming up this week, Chris (our Teaching Pastor) got this idea: What if someone (and by someone: me) came out on the stage in a costume and pretended to be Chris teaching the message. When in fact, Chris was backstage. Then Chris would come out and it would be revealed that it wasn't Chris in the costume.

So a plan was hatched...
And it went off awesomely...
I wish that I had a picture for you... but it would have ruined the surprise factor if someone was taking pictures...

Both services were totally fooled. If you could have seen the looks on people's faces (or at least what I could see from behind the head of a giant frog)! It was priceless...

In the end, I disagree with Kermit... It wasn't that hard being green.


Sunday, October 29, 2006

High Voltage Outline October 29, 2006

Weekend Overview:
Attendance: Average
Lesson Topic: Week 3 - Ordinary Heroes... Peter/Peer Pressure
'Fun Factor': Average
Volunteer Involvement: Above average
Student Involvement in Music: N/A
Lesson Quality: slightly below average
Length of Lesson: 31 minutes
Student Response: average
Overall Night Rating (scale of 1(not good) to 10(awesome)): 5/6

Here's the outline for Sunday night, October 29... See below for some questions and further evaluation.

Ordinary Heroes
Week 3 – Peter (Part 2)
High Voltage – October 29, 2006 – Jim Clark
He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. Mark 3:14-15

Peter gave into peer pressure.
“Peter replied, ‘Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.’ ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’ But Peter declared, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ All the other disciples said the same.” Matthew 26:33-35
“Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee,’ she said. But he denied it before them all. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ he said. Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, ‘This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ He denied it again, with an oath: ‘I don’t know the man!’ After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, ‘Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away.’ Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know the man!’ Immediately a rooster crowed. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: ‘Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.” Matthew 26:69-75

Life is full of decisions.
As long as that’s true, there are going to be those who want to influence your choices.

Fact from Fiction:
FICTION: They’re my friends… They understand me.
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. But their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” Matthew 7:15-16
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.’” Jeremiah 23:16
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1

FACT: Most of the influencers in life don’t have your best interest in mind.
“Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:17-18, 20

Disciples don’t go the way of the crowd…
Followers follow the crowd… Disciples follow the Master.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8
“Then we will no longer be infants, toss back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:14
“But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of golf you have set up.” Daniel 3:18
“The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.” Proverbs 16:17

“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15
Action Steps:
1. Know who you are.
2. Know who you’re following.
3. Know that some will try to change your path.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone will come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” Matt 16:24
The Bottom Line: Peer pressure is part of life… but knowing who you are will help you live in the right direction.

Questions for discussion with your student:
1. Where do you feel like you face the most amount of peer pressure?
2. Who do you feel like the pressure comes from?
3. What is one way that i can help you when you face peer pressure?
4. Are there some changes that might need to be made in your life so that you aren't faced with these sorts of pressures?

Overall the evening went well. We have a few new faces; that's always exciting. The message could have used a little somthing. Parts of it were really good... other parts were not so good...

We were full strength tonight with volunteers. That's always awesome.

Overall it was a good night.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

New 24 Season!!!! Season 6 preview!!!

Hey all,
I don't know if you're 24 fans... I am a total fan.
A friend sent this link to a 24 Season 6 preview. If you're a fan, you don't have a choice. You have to go and check it out.

It looks awesome!!!


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Interesting article

Here's a link to an interesting article that I stumbled onto today from Josh Griffin's blog (thanks Josh) about teenagers and the reasons behind their church attendance.

Part of what interested me was the personal connection that many of them seem to feel in why they continue coming to church. The top reason, if I'm reading the survey correctly, is because they feel a strong connection to their youth leader.

The question there for me seems to be, "Why don't they feel a strong connection to Christ?" And "How do we empress on them the necessity to come to church because they feel a strong connection to Christ and want to worship God, not because their youth pastor is fun or caring?"

Another question that interested me was that students' relationships with their youth leaders impacted their choices in drugs and alcohol, but not in sexuality choices.

If you have interactions on this article, feel free to post them.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ministry Mutiny

I just finished reading "Ministry Mutiny" by Greg Stier.

It's a pretty interesting read. At first, I was a little skeptical. Mostly because I've read books like this before. This was quoted as a "youth leader fable." And most of the time, they start out like a fable and end up like a commerical. But this one didn't.

It is basically about 6 principles that can help student ministries become more dangerous.

Here is a rundown of the 6 principles:
1. Listen for God's whisper... Taking/Making the time to spend in God's word... Listening for God's leading through the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. Get Real... Don't be afraid to deal with real issues and have conversations about real topics in student ministry. Students are looking for real and authentic conversations that lead to real answers.
3. Go Wide... There is a world out there that needs to hear about God's love and his Son. Train the students and then turn them loose to witness to their world.
4. Go Deep... Take discipleship deep in teaching students about God... how to figure out what to believe... how to back it up. This only comes through true discipleship.
5. No More Outsourcing... Empower, encourage and expect parents to take the lead with their teenagers by living the Christian life and talking to them about living it. Deuteronomy 6 families...
6. Build on values, not fads... God's principles are timeless and we should build our ministries on these rather than on passing fads of postmodernism... worship, fellowship, evangelism, discipleship and ministry.

Overall it was a good read. It read like a fiction, mixed with some thought provoking times of consideration. I would recommend it.


Matthew 16:23

Jesus comes to the disciples and asks them a question... "Who do people say that I am?" Honest question. Most of us like to know what other's opinions are of us. What are they thinking? Is it true? Does it illuminate some quality about me that needs to change?

I'm sure for Jesus, he had heard people talking and was curious what the consensus was among the people. A couple of the disciples said... "Some are saying John the Baptist... Some of saying Elijah or Jeremiah or another of the prophets." I'm sure that was insightful information for Jesus.

But then Jesus cuts to the chase... "Who do you think that I am?"

That's a question that we've all got to answer in our lives. Who or what is Jesus Christ? The answer to that question defines a lot of the rest of your life. If Jesus is who he said he is, then another choice is required: Follow him or Don't follow him. Following him requires some lifestyle changes. Not following him shouldn't require any changes but it does put you in an awkward position (What if you're wrong?). But if Jesus isn't who he said he is, then you're kinda back to the postion above where no changes need to be made but you have to wonder what if you're wrong and he really is who he said he is...

But then Peter goes on to say the words that might be more memorable than most in the New Testament. "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." Pretty impressive statement there. Jesus goes on to tell Peter that God must have told him this information, not that that's bad or anything.

All of that is the contecty of verse 23. Because Jesus goes on to tell the disciples what's about to happen to him. That he is going to go to Jerusalem, that he's going to suffer many things, that he's going to be arrested. And finally that he's going to be killed and raised from the dead on the third day.

This information didn't jive with what Peter knows about the Messiah. So he tells Jesus that he must have it wrong.

Then Jesus said something to Peter that really jumped out at me today: "Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.'" (NIV)

This spawned a few questions in me:
Do I have in mind the things of God or the things of men?
Does Jesus ever feel that I'm in the way of what he's trying to do and would rather that I get behind him?
Am I ever guilty of being in front of God and in the way?
Are there things in my ministry to students that are of men, rather than of God?
How do you know for sure that the things that you are doing are of God and not of men?

Part of what made me think this is that Peter probably thought he was exhibiting good leadership. He knew the direction, or so he thought. But he was wrong. Good intentions and leadership weren't what Jesus was looking for. Rather good listening and following is what he expected.

We look back now at Peter's example and think: "Silly Peter... of course you are wrong and Jesus is right." But we see it from hindsight. We know the rest of the story and how it all turns out. But to be there in Peter's position, I'm not sure that I wouldn't make the same mistake. Part of me wonders if I ever make or are making the same mistake on a day in and day out basis. If Peter could make that mistake and he was standing face to face, toe to toe, eye to eye with God in the flesh and he made that mistake, who's to say that I wouldn't (given I can't see his face, toes or eyes physically).


No answers here... Just questions and thoughts...


Sporting a new hat...

Last night I tried wearing my cat as a hat... (Sounds a little Dr. Seuss-ish) She didn't like it too much... but we snapped a picture anyway.

Monday, October 23, 2006

High Voltage Outline - Oct 22, 2006

Here are the notes from High Voltage on October 22, 2006.

The topic was Pride and Peter (the apostle). It was week 2 of the Ordinary Heroes series...

Ordinary Heroes
Week 2 – Peter
High Voltage – October 22, 2006 – Jim Clark
He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. Mark 3:14-15

Pride is a problem
Pride is an excessively high opinion of one’s self.

Pride will get you into trouble.
After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:23-31
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7
They will spread out their hands in it, as a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim. God will bring down their pride despite the cleverness of their hands. Isaiah 25:11

Pride will lead to pain.
A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor. Proverbs 29:23
The proud and arrogant man-"Mocker" is his name; he behaves with overweening pride. Proverbs 21:4
To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Proverbs 8:13
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. Proverbs 16:18-19

Pride is one thing that God hates.
He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes (pride), a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood. Proverbs 6:16-17

Two Cures for Pride:
-Studying God’s Word
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. Luke 6:47-48

-Serving Others
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:5-6

Action Steps:
1. Identify the pride spots in your life.
2. Intentionally take steps to eliminate them.
3. Invest in a lifestyle of humility.

The Bottom Line:
Pride is an easy problem to develop… Don’t let it keep you from following Christ.

Follow up discussion questions for parents of students:
(Part of the idea here is to post some questions that might spawn some conversation between parents and students about the message topic. It would be ideal if parents would schedule some time to talk with their students about the topic.)
1. In what areas of life do you see pride showing up in your day to day world?
2. In what areas of your life do you see pride showing up?
3. What do you think the difference is between pride and confidence?
4. Do you think a person can be confident without being prideful?
5. What is one way that you are dealing with your pride problem?

Weekend Overview:
Attendance: average
Lesson Topic: Week 2 - Ordinary Heroes... Peter/Pride
'Fun Factor': Average
Volunteer Involvement: Above average
Music: average
Student Involvement in Music: above average
Lesson Quality: slighty above average
Length of Lesson: 34 minutes
Student Response: average
Overall Night Rating (scale of 1(not good) to 10(awesome)): 7

Last night we seemed to rebound a lot from the privious week. Attendance was back up (both volunteers and students). It was a music night... which seems to always add some good vibrations.

Overall, it was a good night.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Matthew 9:37-38

I was reading this today... I've read it before... but in light of our current needs, this has become my prayer for today.

Matthew 9:37-38

"Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest fields.'" NIV

We could use some more workers, Lord... Send out some more...

The Evolution Of Beauty

I saw this on another's blog the other day... It's amazing what they can do with a photograph and 10 hours of makeup and hair. I downloaded this video and we'll use it early in the spring when we talk about sex at High Voltage...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Could it be true?

The myspace revolution is truly taking over... In fact, there's probably a good chance that you got here (my blog) from here (my myspace page).

This morning, I discovered that John Maxwell has a myspace page as well... Here's a link to it... It just kinda made me chuckle...


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Go Bears Go

Monday night was an incredible night.

I was very disappointed as the game started... through Halftime I was a little more interested in my Hebrew homework than the Bears game. Mostly because Arizona was telling them all about it. I was almost set to go to bed with about 7 minutes to go in the game (realize that I have to get up at 4 am to get ready to leave for Lincoln)... but I decided to stay up. Then they started to come on... Finally, they choked on a field goal that would have won them the game... but the Bears come away with a close one...
Here's a link to the story if you missed (the best game of the year) it:

Great Game Bears...
They are Super Bowl Bound!!!


Sunday, October 15, 2006

High Voltage Outline - Oct 15, 2006


Here is tonight's outline...

See below for a rundown of how the night went...

Ordinary Heroes
Week 1 – Intro and Matthew
High Voltage – October 15, 2006 – Jim Clark
He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. Mark 3:14-15

A Disciple:
One who stays close to Jesus.
One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grain fields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, "Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?" Mark 2:23-24

One who is sent out on a mission.
Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. Mark 6:7, 12-13

One who lives with purpose and power.
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts 1:8

Jesus invited and they followed.
Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
-They didn’t have any special training or skills or a common background.

-They did stay close to Jesus, learned constantly and make mistakes.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13

i.e. Matthew (left a dishonest life to follow The Truth)
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. "Follow me," he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. Matthew 9:9-10
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
Dishonesty is deceitfulness in someone’s character or actions.
Honest scales and balances are from the Lord; all weights in the bag are off his making. Proverbs 16:11
An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. Proverbs 24:26

Action Steps:
1. Regardless of your past, understand that God can change your future.

2. Realize that you can be a disciple of Jesus.

3. Recognize others who are waiting be invited to follow Christ.

The Bottom Line: The disciples weren’t extraordinary people, just ordinary heroes following an extraordinary Savior.

Weekend Overview:
Attendance: Below average...

Lesson Topic: Week 1 - Ordinary Heroes... Matthew
'Fun Factor': Average
Volunteer Involvement: Way Below Average
Music: N/A
Student Involvement in Music: n/a
Lesson Quality: average
Length of Lesson: 32 minutes
Student Response: below average
Overall Night Rating (scale of 1(not good) to 10(awesome)): 4
Tonight we started a new series, based in part on the "Heroes" TV show on NBC that started this season. The series is pretty interesting... We're talking about the disciples who followed Jesus and how we can be disciples as well...

But we played a game... which seemed like a good idea before we started... called "Straw Towers." In this game, we gave each table a couple of rolls of tape and a couple of bags of straws. The object was to create the largest and strongest tower that they could. Elisabeth, Marisela, Jared, Amanda and Ravynn won. They created an awesome tower... I'll try to post a picture of it tomorrow... the digital camera cord is at home...
But then several middle schoolers and a few others couldn't put down the tape or the straws... to the point where I was almost ready to get off the stage and forget the message. Which is really hard... considering the time that I put into these messages.

But sometimes I wonder... "Does anybody get it?" Several students were pretty dialed in tonight... that's just about the only thing that kept me going... if there weren't there, i would have called it off.

Not the best night in my book... This is one of those nights when I find myself hoping that God's Holy Spirit is doing something that I can't see, hear or perceive... Come Holy Spirit!!


Adios: Audio Adrenaline

Last night was incredible. Jackie and I journied (and it was a journey... first, we got lost about 3 times... the road we needed to take was closed... and when we finally arrived, the line was around the building to get in...) to the MercyMe/Audio Adrenaline "Coming Up To Breathe" Tour in Hoffman Estates.

The show was incredible. Phil Wickam opened... I could have skipped that. But then, Audio Adrenaline came out and rocked the house for 45 minutes of intense Audio A hits. Here are a few photos from the night...

Mark reminded the crowd that their music has been all about God...

This was taken during "Hands and Feet"... one of Audio A's biggest hits...

I remember it well... July 1993... Orlando Florida... North American Christian Convention... Audio Adrenaline caught my attention because they did a song called, "If you're happy and you know it... bang your head..." I was hooked...

Thanks Mark!!

MercyMe came out and rocked the house for almost 90 minutes...

It was a great show...


Thursday, October 12, 2006

it snowed this morning...

It's officially October 12th and we had snow this morning...

I actually had to drive through it to get to the church this morning and there were a few flakes out there a little bit ago... not nearly enough to ski... but enough to get me started thinking about it.

I love snow...


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

my family finally came...

We've been living here in Batavia for about 18 months and my family finally made the trip up. It was a great weekend too...

My mom, dad and sister flew up from Columbus, Ohio, which was a pretty big deal because my mom had never been on an airplane before. But she seemed to handle it fine while complaining that the landing was bumpy... But I'm thinking, "If you've never flown before, how do you know what a bumpy landing is like?"

On Saturday we went into Chicago... visited Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile. We had dinner at Bubba Gump's on the Pier. All in all, it was a great weekend. They flew back on Monday...

Here are a few photos of the weekend:

The weather was beautiful... it couldn't have been a better day.

Here's the whole family at Navy Pier on the USS Chicago Anchor:

Here's Mom, Dad, Addy and Jackie hanging out at the end of the pier:

We enjoyed a great dinner at Bubba Gumps:

And I took this picture off the end of the pier and just liked it... so I thought I'd post it too...

All together... it was a great weekend. And I'm glad they finally came to visit us...


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

High Voltage Outline - Oct 8, 2006

Week 6 – iServe
Jim Clark – October 8, 2006 – High Voltage
Jesus said… “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they (you) may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Definition: Serving means using your uniqueness to meet needs with love.
If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody. Galatians 6:3 (NLT)
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

You are gifted.
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 1 Pet. 4:10
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; Romans 12:6-7
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:4
S Spiritual Gifts
H Heart
A Abilities
P Personality
E Experiences

You can make a difference:
-In the Church
So it is with you. Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church. 1 Corinthians 14:12
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
-Local (Fox Valley Christian Church)
-Global (The Church Universal)

-In the Community
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men. Ephesians 6:7

-In the World
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:13, 16

Action Steps:
1. Discover what you have to offer.

2. Determine to find a place to serve.

3. Don’t quit looking for places to serve.

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations (SHARE), baptizing them (BUILD) in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything (GROW) I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:18-20
Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God (WELCOME) with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor (SERVE) as yourself.' Matthew 22:37-39

The Bottom Line: Only you can make your unique difference in the church and to the world.

Weekend Overview:
Attendance: Above average

Lesson Topic: Week 6 - iLive - Service and Ministry
'Fun Factor': Average
Volunteer Involvement: Average
Music: Average
Student Involvement in Music: below average
Lesson Quality: Below average
Length of Lesson: 35 minutes
Student Response: Above average

I realize that "average" is a relative term. I use the term "average" in the context of our normal Sunday night happenings. Plus, this is an attempt at some self-evaluation.


Several students responded to the idea of "making a difference in the world." Especially to the aspect of adopting a child through Compassion International or Adopting a Missionary... More to come on that in the future...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Amish show the Christian community true forgiveness

Last night, I sat and watched the news as I always do.

But I was struck by the story about the PA gunman who entered an Amish School and killed 5 before killing himself. The feature of the story was that the Amish people are forgiving this man of what he's done and even invited his widow to the funeral services.

Here's the last paragraph from the usually avoided CNN:
"I don't think there's anybody here that wants to do anything but forgive and not only reach out to those who have suffered a loss in that way but to reach out to the family of the man who committed these acts," he told CNN.

Here's a link to this story:

As I thought about this: "If my daughter had been killed in that school, would I have been so quick to forgive? Or would my reaction be more vengeful?" My guess is that it would be more violent and less forgiving...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

High Voltage Outline - Oct 1, 2006 - iShare

I thought I'd try something different... for me that is... I know others are doing it. But I thought I'd try posting some of my message outlines for parents who might be interested in what we're talking about at High Voltage and might not be able to get the material from their students.

Feel free to email me if you have questions:

Week 5 – iShare
Jim Clark – October 1, 2006 – High Voltage
Jesus said… “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they (you) may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
What is evangelism? Def: Sharing the message of the gospel with those who don’t know it.

What keeps us from sharing?
-Fear -Self-Doubt -Culture -Lack of answers

Why should you share?
1. God’s love for us.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
2. Compassion for the Lost.
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me. Matthew 25:40
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
3. Fear/Excitement for Judgment Day.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 2 Corinthians 5:10-11
4. Urgency
Snatch others from the fire and save them… Jude 23

A Pattern for Sharing: E-Sharing
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8
Pray for a friend

Pursue relationships

Welcome, Believe, Build, Grow, Share.
Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. Romans 10:1
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31

Action Steps:
1. Start with one friend.

2. Take a step that you can do.

3. Keep sharing no matter the results.

The Bottom Line: Sharing God’s good news with the world is everyone’s responsibility.

Not enough time in the day

It seems to me that every day I get the same 24 hour time block... not only does it seem, but it's true. But for some reason, I can't seem to be finished all that I wish I could. My homework doesn't get completely finished... my to-do list at church continues to grow... projects are left unattempted...

Thankfully, tomorrow is another day and another chance to get another 24 hours. We'll see what happens...

Friday, September 29, 2006

Great Gathering

What an incredible time of connecting at Saddleback in sunny southern California!!! Kay Warren spoke today and had an incredible heart-felt connection. Yesterday Greg Stier (Dare2share- spoke and shared an incredible new student ministry idea for evangelism...

With all that aside... the best part of the whole week was seeing some old faces (not that they are really any older than me... but you know what I mean...) and getting re-connected with them and their lives. Judy Gregory (from Granger) flew on the same flights... talked about volunteers...what we were reading... ect... Reconnecting with Joby... Ben Taylor... Ben Mc... Chris Reed... JG... Fields and others... It's looking these guys (whom I'm known... served with... been encouraged by) in the eyes and finding out what's going on in their lives and in their ministries.

One example: Chris Reed has this way of asking me questions that I don't have ready answers for. Like today on the way back to the airport, he asked me, "Do you and your wife do romantic weekend retreats?" That's a hard question when you aren't doing it and should be. But I need someone to ask me those questions... So, thanks Chris.

What an incredible time of connecting with those who are doing it and are going to be doing it for a while!!! Thanks Neely... Thanks Josh... and Thanks Fields...

Next stop... Chicago: 2:52 am. (UGH!)